This tasty vegan Pad Thai is ready in just 15 minutes! It's full of flavor and fresh veggies, noodles, and tamarind sauce, plus a little chili kick and crunchy peanuts.
If you're looking for a quick dinner that's full of flavor, you're going to love this easy Vegan Pad Thai recipe!
Pad Thai is a popular dish in Thailand that is made with rice noodles, protein (usually shrimp or chicken), vegetables, and a sauce made from tamarind paste, fish sauce, and palm sugar. Pad Thai is typically served with a variety of garnishes like lime wedges and crushed peanuts.
This recipe for Pad Thai is 100% vegan! The typical meat protein is swapped with tofu and the sauce is made of purely vegan ingredients with a flavor that is sweet, salty and bursting with umami flavor.
Not only does this dish have many layers of flavor, but it's also super easy to make!
Whisk together the sauce and toss it with cooked rice noodles, and vegetables, and top it with your favorite garnishes.
It makes a great weeknight meal because it comes together so quickly and can be easily customized with your favorite vegetables!
This vegan pad thai recipe was originally published on January 23, 2018, and republished on June 24, 2022, with new text, photos, and a slightly adapted recipe.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
This Pad Thai recipe is made with 100% vegan and vegetarian ingredients.
It's packed with protein and fiber coming from the tofu and vegetables.
It can easily be customized by adding your favorite veggies.
The entire meal comes together in just 15 minutes making it the perfect meal when you're short on time!
Pad Thai Sauce
- Tamarind Paste - This gives the sauce a sour and tangy flavor. You can find this at your local Asian grocery store or online.
- Soy Sauce - Adds a salty umami flavor to the sauce that complements the entire dish.
- Garlic Cloves - Adds a bold garlic flavor to the dish.
- Brown Sugar - Gives the sauce its classic sweetness with a layer of molasses flavor.
- Lime Juice - Adds a tart acidity to the sauce that brightens it up making it refreshing.
- Dried Chili Flakes - Gives the sauce a warm kick of heat that pairs well with the rest of the ingredients.
Pad Thai Ingredients
- Firm Tofu - This adds the main source of protein and texture to the dish.
- Cornstarch - Coats the tofu so it gets crunchy while roasting in the skillet.
- Oil - Helps get the tofu nice and browned while cooking in the pan.
- Rice Noodles - Make up the structure of the dish adding heartiness and bringing all of the flavors together.
- Vegetables - A mix of broccoli, shredded carrot, and bean sprouts are the perfect combination of vegetables for this dish.
- Shallot - Adds a mild onion flavor to the noodle portion of the dish.
- Roasted Peanuts - Adds a nutty flavor and crunchy texture to the dish.
- Sesame Seeds - Also adds a nutty flavor while bringing in sesame flavor.
- Fresh Herbs - A mix of green onion and cilantro add a pop of color and garden-fresh flavor.
- Chili Flakes - Gives the final dish a kick of heat.
- Lime Juice - Brightens up the dish by adding fresh flavor.
Please see the recipe card below for quantities.
Wondering how to make this Vegan Pad Thai recipe? It's easy! Just follow this step-by-step photo tutorial. Then, scroll down for the recipe card for the full ingredients list and recipe method.
Assemble the pad Thai sauce: Add all of the sauce ingredients to a bowl. Use a whisk to fully combine. Set aside.
Cook the tofu: Prepare the tofu by pressing out any excess moisture, then cut into ½ inch cubes. Toss in cornstarch. Heat the oil in a skillet until hot, then cook the tofu on each side until golden brown. Remove and set aside.
Cook the noodles: Cook the rice noodles according to the package directions. They may have you soak the noodles in boiling water or boil them directly depending on which kind. Once fully cooked, run them under cold water and drain fully.
Cook the vegetables: To the skillet over medium heat, add the chopped vegetables and saute for about 4 minutes. If the vegetables stick to the bottom, add a small amount of water to release them.
Assemble the pad Thai: To the vegetables, add the cooked noodles along with the pad Thai sauce and bean sprouts until fully mixed heating until warmed through. Then add the tofu, mix in and cook until warm.
Garnish and serve: Add the noodles to a bowl or serving dish and top with your favorite garnishes. Enjoy!
The cooking instructions for the rice noodles will be different depending on what kind you buy. Be sure to follow them, but also make sure they are fully drained before adding to the dish.
The vegetables will be cooked in a dry pan which may make them stick. You can use additional oil to cook them or use a small amount of water as they dry to keep them from sticking.
Make sure you purchase firm tofu for this recipe as tofu with a higher moisture content may not cook correctly and will stick to the pan.
Homemade vegan sauces are the best way to control the ingredients and make sure they are vegan-friendly. If you don't have time to make your own, you can purchase a vegan pad thai sauce at most health food grocery stores.
Goes great with a toasted side of Yeast Free Naan Bread.
Drizzle the final dish with homemade Chili Garlic Oil for extra heat and flavor.
The chili flakes can be omitted from the sauce as well as the garnish if you don't like spicy food.
Other garnish ideas include vegan Sriracha, fresh herbs, lemon, chopped hazelnuts, shredded carrots, or vegan sour cream.
If you don't have rice noodles, you could also use zucchini noodles or another type of pasta noodle.
If you want to add more protein to the dish, feel free to add in chickpeas or cooked tempeh.
This recipe is easily made gluten-free by using gluten-free noodles and using tamari instead of soy sauce.
Add other vegetables to the mix including bok choy, mushrooms, snow peas, or zucchini.
Storing: This dish is best served immediately, however, any cooled leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 48 hours. Freezing is not recommended.
Reheating: To reheat, cook in a skillet over medium heat until warmed through. You may need to add a splash of water or oil to help it along.
Yes, if it has no fish products! This recipe is vegan and can be made gluten-free as well to cater to any dietary restrictions.
Not all pad Thai has tofu, but this vegan version is made with cubed firm tofu that gets nice and crispy in the pan.
This vegan pad thai is made with whole-food ingredients and is a good source of protein and fiber. It can be considered a healthier option than takeout pad Thai.
More Vegan Noodle Dishes
- Vegan Thai Noodles with Air Fryer Tofu
- Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup
Easy Vegan Ramen
- Vegan Noodle Salad with Peanut Sauce
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Vegan Pad Thai
Pad Thai Sauce
- 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
- ¼ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
Pad Thai Ingredients
- 12 oz firm tofu (275g)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 6 ounces rice noodles (170 g)
- 2 cups broccoli florets cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 shallots finely sliced
- 1 cup carrot shredded
- 1 cup bean sprouts (100g)
- 2 tablespoons roasted peanuts finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds white or black
- 1 green onion (scallion/spring onion)
- 1 tablespoon cilantro chopped (coriander)
- Chilli flakes to taste
- Fresh lime juice
- Make the Pad Thai Sauce by whisking all the sauce ingredients (tamarind paste, soy sauce, garlic, sugar, lime juice and chili flakes) in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Pat the tofu dry and press out any excess moisture. Cut it into ½-inch cubes then toss in the cornstarch.
- Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan, then add the tofu and cook until golden and crispy, about 5 minutes, letting it get a golden crust before turning each piece.Remove the tofu and set aside.
- Meanwhile, soak the noodles in boiling water according to package instructions (approx 7 minutes).
- Drain, run under cold water, drain again.
- Add the shallots, carrot, broccoli and to the pan over a medium heat and sautee for 4 minutes.Add a splash of water if it starts to stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Stir in the pad thai sauce, noodles, and bean sprouts. Heat for a further 3 minutes until warmed through.
- Add the tofu and cook for a further minute.
- Serve topped with the crushed peanuts, sesame seeds, scallion, cilantro, chili flakes and a squeeze of lime juice.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors, so is not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietician for special diet advice.